The England and Wales Cricket Board refused to broaden their two-week window of availability of Test players for the Indian Premier League, prolonging wait of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff to earn from any IPL riches.
The new season of IPL begins on April 10 and runs until May 24, but in a document sent to the 18 first-class counties, Hugh Morris, the managing director of the ECB, makes plain that England’s Test stars will only be available for 14 days if they are to earn the ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the board that is an IPL requirement.
Under Morris’s directives, Pietersen and Flintoff, along with any other England Test player who might get tapped up, must report back by noon on April 25, The Telegraph reported.
Morris wants them to play in the round of championship matches preceding the opening Test against the West Indies on May 6.
IPL commissioner Lalit Modi insists that players who join this season must commit to a two-year deal and play for at least a month each year, the paper reported.
Under those conditions there seems no way that Pietersen and Flintoff, England’s two most desirable players to the franchise holders in terms of box-office appeal, can play in the IPL. Even if the players refuse to sign their central contracts, which they have yet to do, they still need an NOC, which the ECB have the power to withhold.
There is another problem. England’s One-day players unlikely to be involved in the early Tests, such as Samit Patel, will be allowed to play IPL until May 10 (the One-dayers against the West Indies start later).